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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missourians could lose welfare benefits if they go too long without using them in the state under legislation advanced by the House.
The House gave the measure first-round approval Wednesday. It needs a second vote before moving to the state Senate.
 
Recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families would be warned of possible suspensions if they go 60 days without using their electronic benefit card in Missouri.
The Department of Social Services would suspend accounts if benefits went unused in Missouri after 90 days. State officials would investigate whether a recipient is a Missouri resident.
 
 A state audit in December identified 366 cases in which recipients used $461,000 of benefits exclusively out of state for at least three months.
 
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House members have endorsed a bill that attempts to resist proposed federal regulations of wood-burning stoves.
The legislation received initial approval Wednesday. It would prohibit the state Department of Natural Resources from implementing regulations on wood-burning heaters without specific approval from the Legislature.
 
It's prompted by a proposed rule change by the Environmental Protection Agency that would give manufacturers five years to meet tougher standards that would reduce emissions from wood stoves by an estimated 80 percent.
Some manufacturers contend it would drive up the costs and could put them out of business.
 
Supporters of the Missouri legislation hope to prevent state regulators from helping to implement the proposed EPA regulations. The bill needs another House vote to move to the Senate.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House is preparing to consider a proposed state budget that partly ties education funding to the strength of the economy.
 
House Majority Leader John Diehl says debate will begin this week on the budget for the next fiscal year. The plan endorsed by the House Budget Committee would add $122 million to the state's $3 billion in basic school funding. But if state revenues meet more optimistic projections, then it would provide a $278 million increase for schools.
 
The House plan would also bar universities from offering resident tuition rates to students living in the U.S. illegally.
 
The Republican-led committee rejected Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's proposal to expand Medicaid eligibility to more lower-income adults. But its plan would restore adult dental coverage that was previously cut from Medicaid.
   
 
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's House has endorsed a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would enshrine a fundamental right for parents to raise their children as they see fit.
 
The House gave the measure initial approval Tuesday. It states that parents have a right to make decisions involving the "discipline, education, religious instruction, health, medical care, place of habitation, and general well-being" of children.
 
Sponsoring Republican Rep. Todd Richardson, of Poplar Bluff, says parents should have constitutional protections when it comes to raising children.
   
The proposal needs one more House vote before moving to the Senate. If it passes there, the proposed constitutional amendment would go on the November statewide ballot.
 
 
Published in Local News
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 03:08

Missouri House mulls pot bill

   Missouri lawmakers continue to mull legalizing marijuana.  
   Democratic Rep. Chris Kelly, of Columbia is sponsoring legislation that would allow most Missouri adults to buy and use recreational marijuana.
   The House public safety committee held a hearing on the measure Monday, but did not take a vote.
   If the bill passes, it would allow the state to impose an excise  tax on sales up to 25%.
   Washington State and Colorado have already legalized recreational marijuana use.
   The Democratic proposal faces an uphill battle in Missouri's Republican-dominated Legislature.
Published in Local News
Thursday, 27 February 2014 10:49

Missouri tax break could be on horizon

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has passed legislation that could lower the tax bill for many Missourians by linking the state's tax brackets to inflation.
 
A bill approved on a 146-4 vote would require Missouri's individual income tax brackets to be adjusted annually for inflation starting in 2015.  Legislative staff estimate that would reduce state tax revenues by $26 million when fully in effect.
 
Although state tax rates have changed over time, Missouri's top income tax bracket has been set at $9,000 since 1931. That means all income over that amount currently is taxed at the same 6 percent rate.
 
The tax-bracket legislation now goes to the Senate. It's one of several measures lawmakers are considering this year that would reduce state income taxes.
 
Published in Local News
   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri lawmaker with a seriously ill daughter is encouraging colleagues to pass legislation that could make it easier for patients to gain access to experimental medications.
   A House committee heard testimony Wednesday on legislation by Representative Jim Neely that would let drug manufacturers give or sell medicines still in the investigational stages to patients. Neely says many terminally ill patients are willing to try medicines that don't have approval from the federal Food and Drug Administration. But he says access is limited to those medications.
   Neely is a Cameron physician whose 40 year old daughter is dealing with colon cancer and liver failure. He says the legislation may be too late for his own family but could help others.
   Several parents whose children have had serious illnesses testified for the bill.
 
Published in Local News

   A Missouri House committee is considering a bill that would make last month's visit by a TV reporter to Kirkwood High School a felony.  The KSDK reporter's visit prompted a lockdown after he wandered off unescorted and school administrators were unable to reach the TV station to verify he was working on a story about school security.  

   The bill's sponsor Richmond Heights Democrat Stacey Newman tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that information about school security needs to be private to ensure that procedures are effective.  

   But not everyone on the Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee agrees.  Kansas City Democrat Brandon Ellington says it would be passing a bill to stop people from exposing the holes in a system that shouldn't have holes.  

   The station has apologized for the incident.

Published in Local News
Monday, 17 February 2014 08:23

Former Mo. State Rep. Ron Casey dies

   Funeral arrangements are set for a former Missouri state representative from Crystal City who died over the weekend.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Ron Casey died early Sunday morning at the age of 61.

   Casey had suffered a head wound the week before when he fell on a concrete floor at his brother's home.

   Casey represented part of Jefferson County for 12 years in the state House.  

   Visitation will be held at the Second Baptist Church in Festus on Tuesday from 2-to-8 p.m.  Funeral services will also be at the church at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Published in Local News
Thursday, 13 February 2014 09:07

Stricter voter identification is proposed

A Missouri House committee approved measures yesterday to create one of the strictest voter photo identification requirements in the country.

The change would require unexpired Missouri-issued or federal photographic identification.

According to the Post Dispatch, bill sponsor Rep. Tony Dugger says the opportunity for voter fraud needed to be stopped to maintain the integrity of elections in the state.

There are only nine states that require photo identification to vote.

The limited number of documents accepted under the Missouri proposal would make it stricter than all but two states, Indiana and Texas. Expired drivers licenses and school-issued photo IDs would not be accepted.  

Only nonexpired Missouri or federal photo ID would be accepted under the proposal.  Secretary of State Jason Kander opposes the measure.  Currently, about 220,000 registered voters would not have the required ID cards. 

Published in Local News
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